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Religious Life

[Page 83]

dab083.jpg [41 KB] - The great synagogue in Szopena (formerly Miejska) Street
The great synagogue in Szopena (formerly Miejska) Street
which is used today as a warehouse for junk

[Page 84]

The Rabbis of Dąbrowa Górnicza

by M. Sh. Geshury

Translated by Dr. Hannah Berliner Fischthal

1. Rabbi Mosze, son of Reb Dawid Rapoport, righteous teacher, in Dąbrowa

He was, as it turns out, the first Rabbi/judge of the Jews in Dąbrowa. Dąbrowa developed quickly from a village to a town with a Jewish community. Dąbrowa held onto its character as a village for a long time, even after its population climbed. However it was spread out over a large area. The Jews in Dąbrowa were not organized for a long time. They belonged to the Jewish community of Będzin and followed its Rabbi. With the growth of the Jews in Dąbrowa, the Będzin community wanted to send over a judge to handle their religious matters, Rabbi Rapoport, and he was the first judge for the Jews in Dąbrowa and surrounding villages, such as Zawiercie, Gołonóg, and so on.

Rabbi Rapoport was born in 1857 in Działoszyn, to his father, Rabbi the Hasid Josef of Gidjel [Gidel], known by the name of “Reb Josele Hasid.” He received his ordination by the Rabbis of Kalisz, Ostrów, and Będzin. In 1894 he became the religious arbiter in Dąbrowa when the Jews there felt that it was too far for them to run with every small question to Będzin. Rabbi Rapoport's dedication and influence are not well known. We only know that he was an Aleksanderer Hasid and an underling of the Będzin Rabbi Graubart. But, it turns out, he had no peace from his community of Jews. From the Sochaczewer Rabbi Abram Bornsztajn's book, Jewels in the Crown, we can see that Rabbi Rapoport was in a dispute with his community because he had forbidden machine-made matzos for Passover. Because of that, his salary was reduced. He turned to the Sochaczewer Rabbi, who reacted strongly against the community in a letter made public in the above-mentioned book.

In Jewels in the Crown is the letter written to the entire Dąbrowa community:

As your judge explained to me, you have reduced his salary and done other things all because he has forbidden machine-made matzos for Passover. I agree that you behaved very badly, regarding both the ban on machine-made matzos and on persecuting the Rabbi for forbidding the machine-made matzos. It is common knowledge that all the learned scholars from Ger, Rabbi Abram Landau, the Częstochowa Rabbi, and the illustrious Kutner Rabbi, J. J. Trunk (and also the geniuses from Galicia, like the Chańczer [?] Rabbi and others), have also forbidden the machine-made matzos, and it is known that the Gerer Rabbi stormed against them. The machine-made matzos, which have spread over the country, are forbidden, according to all the big Rabbis and scholars. The Rabbis who banned them are in the majority. Your judge, who opposed the machine-matzes, should get even more than his salary, let alone your punishing him by giving him less than his due. I am warning you, that you should give the Rabbi back his earlier pay, and you should get rid of the bad custom of making machine-matzos. Then we will forgive you for the past and you will get a large reward from heaven in the future. In the other disagreements, which are between him and the other judge, I will not mix in, it is written “you need to hear both sides.” But I am strongly warning you about the Rabbi's salary, and whoever will help him with this will receive a big reward.” – Abram Bornsztajn.

[Page 85]

dab085.jpg [80 KB] -  Rabbi Mosze Rapoport's will
Rabbi Mosze Rapoport's will

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